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Enhanced ARMM power, resources part of peace formula proposed to MILF

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Government peace panel chairman Marvic Leonen pointed out at a press conference recently in Cotabato city that an enhanced power and resources for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) forms part of the peace formula offered to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

The Bureau of Public Information reveals that Leonon said the enhancement of power and resources of the ARMM’s autonomy forms part of the government’s “three-in-one” peace formula it submitted on August 22 to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) negotiating group as proposed solution to the decades-old Mindanao conflict.

Recognizing the problems and challenges in the administration of the ARMM and seeing the progress espoused by the short-stint Adiong administration, Leonon pointed out that the so-called “failed autonomy” in ARMM was applicable only “in the past.”

Lawyer Naguib Sinarimbo, ARMM executive secretary said that despite such challenges, their brief transitory administration has rigorously achieved a number of accomplishments in a fashion that drew enhanced assistance of foreign donor institutions.

“We have proven that even minimal power and resources, administrators in ARMM can still do improvements through convergent and relentless efforts,” Sinarimbo stressed.

In a power point presentation, Sinarimbo unveiled at the Aug. 31 episode of the weekly “Tapatan sa ARMM” media forum the root causes of the region’s snail-paced growth.

In his presentation entitled “Realities in the ARMM and the Way to ARMM Reform,” Sinarimbo put inadequate budget and lack of fiscal autonomy of the region on top of the list of challenges besetting development interventions in the area.

“This is an honest assessment from the time I started working here until the time I (will) leave,” Sinarimbo said, referring to his power-point presentation that is based on his consistent exposures of problems in the autonomous governance.

Sinarimbo is one of the first appointees of Acting ARMM Governor Ansaruddin Alonto-Adiong, the elected vice governor who was installed to office on Dec. 14, 2009 upon the suspension and detention of Regional Governor Zaldy Ampatuan in connection with the Maguindanao massacre of Nov. 23 that same year.

Over all, Sinarimbo hopes that the national government and agencies concerned will take a serious look at its fiscal policies on ARMM that may have deter the development of the region.

He lamented that contrary to lingering public perception that ARMM is pampered financially, major line agencies in the area of autonomy region like the DepEd, DENR, and DILG receive annual budgets lesser than their counterparts in all the country’s administrative regions.

Moreover, Sinarimbo expressed hope that the incoming OICs in ARMM would be resourceful and innovative in their transitory administration because “if we rely on government money, we will have a sad story until 2013.”

Sinarimbo said the ARMM must be viewed not just as an extension of the national government in the delivery of services but should also be transformed into a legitimate and legal platform of expressing the right to self-determination.

"Beyond service delivery, it (ARMM) must equally identify itself with the legitimate aspirations of its people. Otherwise, it will continue to be viewed as an instrument of neo-colonialism and remain alienated from its people,” he said.

Adiong and his co-terminus appointees alongside other regional elected officials will bow out of office on September 30 and be succeeded by officers-in-charge to be installed by President Aquino the next day pursuant to R.A. 13153, which defers the Aug. 8, 2011 elections and allows the President to appoint caretakers until 2013. (BPI-ARMM/PIA9-BST)




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